With its own backyard a mess, Washington should quit meddling in the South China Sea

By Jiang Li – Xinhua

Beijing: US. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the United States rejected China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, the latest provocative act in his notorious campaign to undermine China.

Pompeo’s statement not only disregards the facts related to the South China Sea, but also gravely violates China’s sovereignty and interferes with its internal affairs. The Chinese embassy in the United States slammed his remarks as “completely unjustified,” and said the Chinese side is “firmly opposed to it.”

Washington is not a relevant party regarding territorial concerns in the South China Sea, yet it frequently — and unwisely — chooses to flex its military muscle and stir up tensions in the region. The reason? To contain China and pursue its own hegemonic ambitions in the Asia-Pacific.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press briefing in Washington D.C., the United States, on March 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
Don’t be fooled. As the world continues to fight COVID-19 and with the United States itself deeply mired in the pandemic, sober minds worldwide can see right through the current U.S. administration’s purely political scheme to divert domestic attention away from its poor handling of the outbreak, not to mention the country’s systemic human rights abuses against its African American population.

Islands in the South China Sea have been part of China’s inherent territory since ancient times, and China has ample historical proof to underpin its sovereignty and legitimate maritime rights there. No one can deny such overwhelming evidence.
Besides, China has long worked with all related parties in the South China Sea to maintain peace and stability in the region. Within the framework of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations continue to make visible progress in ensuring peace in the region.

The golden principle of preserving stability in the South China Sea requires all parties to solve their differences through dialogue and respect each other’s core interests. Yet by sending aircraft carriers to the region and launching ill-founded accusations against Beijing, Washington is attempting to undermine the peace.

Washington hardliners should not underestimate China’s determination to safeguard its sovereign rights. History has shown that every time Washington tries to make waves in the region, China steadfastly responds, as it did with the South China Sea tribunal debacle in 2016.

As of Monday, the United States has reported more than 3.36 million COVID-19 cases with over 135,000 deaths, according to the latest Johns Hopkins University tally. Both figures are far higher than those of any other country or region.

Washington’s energy would best be spent on containing the pandemic raging in its own backyard instead of interfering in China’s domestic concerns.